Categories
Sports

What is the biggest NBA myth?

  1. that Kobe Bryant was robbed of MVPs – I’ve already answered that here.
  2. that Jordan was ‘rusty’ in his 1995 comeback and that’s why he lost to the Orlando Magic

Let me explain the second one. Jordan fans like to imagine that he would win 8 straight championships in a row if he didn’t retire. For 1994 – I agree that with Jordan on the team, they probably would have beaten the Knicks and gone on to beat Hakeem’s Rockets (who only had one other all star in Otis Thorpe) that year and Jordan would have won his 4th NBA championship in 1994 instead of 1996.

However this doesn’t apply to 1995. Because we already know what happened in 1995. Jordan came back late in the season, and then played the entire playoffs and lost to Shaq/Penny’s Magic in 6 games. But Jordan was rusty right? he only played 17 games in the regular season!

Uhh.. nope. Jordan came back pretty much just as strong as he left it and the stats back this up.

In 1995, Jordan performed better in the playoffs than he did in 1996. Crazy right? But he won 72 games in 1996 and he lost to the Magic in 1995! How can that be?

Because Jordan fans don’t want to admit that basketball is a team game. its not based on one individual superstar, even though the NBA is marketed that way. The loss of Horace Grant (ironically, to the Magic) in 1995 left the Bulls without an interior presence to defend Shaq. Horace Grant wasn’t just a role player – he was an all star and the second best player on the team after Pippen in 1994.
In 1996, the Bulls acquired Dennis Rodman and they got the inside presence they needed to beat the Magic that year.

This is the concept that Jordan and Kobe fans don’t understand: it’s not about one individual player putting up massive scoring stats; the rest of your team has to be good as well. Rings are a team achievement and so is MVP in fact; MVPs are always given to the player on a top 3 seeded team (except for Westbrook because he averaged a triple double) so in fact even for MVP which is a so called individual award, having a good team still matters. That’s why Kobe was not robbed of MVP in 2005/2006 – his team wasn’t good enough and that matters in MVP voting.

That’s how Jordan put up better stats in 1995, and still lost. He definitely was not rusty.

 

Categories
Sports

Why does everyone have Kobe Bryant top 5 all time?

In a recent poll of NBA players here’s the results

Wow! Kobe is in 3rd place! As the GOAT! And Allen iverson and Kevin Durant being on the list is a surprise to me. Keep in mind these are NBA players that did this survey. What the heck?

And not only that but the fans seem outraged that Kobe isnt in 2nd place over LeBron.

 

Wow look at that! How many fans are praising Kobe!! He must have the most die-hard fanbase ever.

But this seems at odds with ESPN and Sports nations own rankings..

Why is there such a big gap between where sports analysts rank Kobe and where casual fans and even NBA players rank Kobe?

I think there might be a few reasons why.

  1. Kobe was the best marketed athlete of his generation. He was advertised everywhere. He even came with his own buzzwords “cold blooded assassin” “killer instinct” and “mamba mentality” and even won an Oscar after his playing days! This kind of marketing is obviously going to influence a lot of casual NBA fans.
  2. Kobe won alot of rings and winning is the most important thing to casual NBA fans. Kobe has 5 rings. That’s more than most players. And casual fans don’t bother to think about the nuances of what kind teams he was on versus which other teams, only that he won.
  3. Kobe scored alot. Scoring is the most important stat to casual NBA fans. They don’t care about efficiency or advanced stats or defensive stats as much. Raw points is the boxscore that comes up the most often and that’s the one that most fans see. Kobe holds the second most points scored in a game at 81. That’s good enough for most fans.
  4. Kobe played for a large market team and played very flashy. I mean this is one reason why Duncan doesn’t get mentioned very much. Not very flashy, and played in a small market town, never drew attention to himself, despite his credentials being at least as good as Kobe’s.
  5. Kobe played in a different era. Sure LeBron and Kobe’s careers overlapped. But Kobe is seen as a “tougher” player than LeBron is and that’s due to the different eras. LeBron flops to get more points in the current era. That (fair or not) leads people to label Lebron as “weak”
  6. Kobe is seen as more clutch than Lebron. I say “seen as” because Kobe actually isn’t as clutch. He’s only 7/28 in last 24 seconds of 4th quarters (in postseason) and has no highlight clutch finals move like LeBron’s last second block on Andre Iguodala in closing seconds of 2016 finals. But nevertheless because of effective marketing many fans believe Kobe is money in the clutch.
  7. Kobe is seen as a harder worker and more “skilled’ than LeBron and I think this stems from the fact that he’s a guard and thus more relatable to most people than LeBron is, who is a 280lb freak of nature. Big men never really get their due. That is another reason why Duncan doesn’t get mentioned as often as Kobe and Jordan is seen as more skilled’ than Kareem or Wilt.
  8. Fans think Kobe was robbed of MVPs of course this isn’t true. Kobe wasnt on the MVP voting ballot in 2005 and was 4th place in 2006 but this doesn’t stop fans from thinking that there was a media conspiracy against him
  9. Kobe is the closest to Jordan in terms of skillset and play style. Of course this doesn’t mean he’s the second greatest by that definition but a lot of casual fans think that automatically makes Kobe second best.

Those are the main reasons I think why casual fans rank Kobe much higher than sports analysts do. As for NBA players ranking Kobe higher – most NBA players are actually not all that different from casual NBA fans who happened to be really good at basketball and get drafted. What’s more there’s an obviously a bias towards recent players – note the lack of Kareem (1% in the poll), Russell or Wilt. Iverson over Wilt or Russell is a travesty in any case but most NBA players are young and it shows. Many of then grew up idolizing Kobe which is why Kobe ranks highly for them too.

Kobe is like the JFK of basketball players. The average fan is always going to rank them higher than the experts do. Experts can open any stats book and see that LeBron destroys Kobe in any statistical matchup but what casual fans care about and what basketball analysts care about aren’t necessarily the same things – hence why Kobe is as high as #2 for so many people.

Categories
Sports

What is one popular argument about the Lebron v. Jordan debate that you don’t agree with?

Finals Records

This argument really only came up around 2016 or so, when Lebron started getting into the GOAT argument. Jordan fans then started focusing on the one stat Lebron would never be able to reach: 6–0. That’s Jordan’s finals record. An impossible to attain goal for Lebron since he had already lost 4 Finals at that point. Lebron haters would keep saying 3–4, 3–5, and now 3–6!

But what does it really matter? Do Finals losses really matter? No, it doesn’t. Nobody cares about that. We remember what players won not what they lost. Nobody cares that Jerry West lost 9 Finals. Magic and Kareem got swept in the Finals twice just like Lebron, but no one ever brings that up.

But the most obvious reason why Finals losses don’t matter is because you need to be in the Finals in the first place to lose in the Finals. Going to the Finals means you beat 3 teams in a 7 game series to get there. Focusing on Finals losses implies that losing before the Finals would be better – an absurd statement. Obviously you need to be in the Finals to have a chance to win a championship.

Jordan lost in the first round many times before making the Finals – by then he already had a really good team. Lebron did not have the luxury of making the Finals with really good teams. Because the “East is Weak” he coasted to the Finals with subpar teams against Western juggernauts – hence the 6 Finals losses.

Even more absurdly, some fans even think going to less Finals is better than going to more Finals if you have a losing record. As in, John Stockton’s 0–2 record makes him worse than Steve Nash’s 0–0 record. That’s ridiculous. Stockton went to 2 more Finals than Nash. Stockton has a better Finals record. He won more playoff games as well. By this logic, I am apparently a better player than Lebron since I never lost in the Finals 0–0 > 3–6 right?

I’m pretty sure the whole Finals Record is an argument made to embarrass Lebron against Jordan and there’s pretty much no other reason why it exists and no other context or player in which fans mention Finals record. 
Also, ironically Lebron’s Finals Record will remain untouched this year as he won’t make the playoffs.